Friday, February 26, 2010

Reflected Enmity

My players have decided to explore the Shimmering Veils of Pride first, which means we're coming up on the mirrors of opposition at the entrance. How should I make these function in the 4e conversion? Simply copying their entire character twice seems like overkill - that's a lot of extra abilities and powers that probably won't be used (and, if they were used, would probably represent a much greater challenge for the party than they can handle). I could also create new monster stat blocks for each PC, in anticipation of their activation of the mirrors, or I could turn each character into an NPC stat block (using the class templates presented in the DMGs). The last option is to simply make each PC-reflection monster the same: a generic mirror entity monster that simply wears the face of whichever PC brought it forth.

What do you think? Some options are clearly more work than others, but would be more flavorful. I'm currently leaning towards the NPC-stat-block solution, but this poses some difficulties for a published conversion: there's no way I can know what your own party is comprised of. If I decided to use customized stat blocks for each individual party member, you as the DM would have to create them yourself to match your own party once you reached this point in the adventure.

Monday, February 22, 2010


At the end of the last session of my playtest game, the PCs woke the elder white dragon Arkrhyst from his slumber, and he barreled down at them from Rimeskull.

At this point in the campaign, the PCs are 17th level. It is ideal, then, that an Elder White Dragon is a level 17 solo brute. I don't think a single white dragon makes for a particularly interesting fight, so I'm planning on spicing it up with a couple of the new living spells released in this month's Dragon - it seems reasonable to rule that the presence of a portal to one of the most magically potent locations in existence might give rise to some stray magical anomalies. In fact, I like the idea that Arkrhyst's substantial time spent here has given him a few extra abilities - specifically the power to create and control a couple of these living spells.

I also want to drop Arkrhyst's hit points down to Monster Manual 2 standards, and give him a couple more abilities to even things out. First, to help with his damage output, I'll give him something to break through some of the PCs' cold resistance, especially when bloodied. PCs should be rewarded for having powers that supply them with the appropriate resistances, but in a fight like this featuring so much cold damage it can easily become an "I win" button.

So here are a couple questions that I'd love to hear interesting answers to:

  • How should the Stone Runelord Heads feature in this fight? Should they be little more than terrain, or should they have a fantastical power that can be taken advantage of in the fight? Should they explode if caught in the crossfire of the battle with Arkrhyst?
  • What other power or ability should I grant Arkrhyst, in addition to being able to reduce resistances? Should he have something that lets him command living spells actively? Something else that highlights his arcane strengths?
Comment quickly!

The Best Use of This Space

I've been giving this blog's purpose a lot of thought recently. Don't worry, this project is still going full-steam ahead, even if the publishing side of it is way, way behind. The process of essentially publishing everything twice - once to the blog in the form of posts, and then once to a file-sharing site in a compiled format - is fairly inefficient. It lets you take a look at my design process, to a certain extent, and that's good. It generates feedback, and I can always incorporate that feedback into the next iteration of the conversion material. But I don't need the blog to do that, really. I always end up making changes to the conversions even after they're published in compiled form.

I'd rather do something else with this space.

From now on, I'll be posting regular updates on the material I'm currently working on, occasionally even before my players get around to it. These will be in-depth looks at my design choices, and I'll be looking for a lot of feedback to help me make these conversions the best they can be. This might take the form of a poll on what direction I should take an encounter, or a critique of a stat block, or simply advice on how to break down a section of the adventure into manageable chunks.

The conversions themselves will be published as finished adventure compilations, just as they have been.